Court Docs: Danvers Teacher Murder Suspect Left Note; ‘I Hate You All’
DANVERS (CBS/AP) – Court documents indicating the murder of Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer may have been planned in advance were made public on Friday.
According to documents, the suspect, 14-year-old Phillip Chism showed up at school the day of the murder with a box cutter, a ski mask and multiple changes of clothing.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Karen Twomey reports
A student whose name was concealed in the document told police that the day of the killing, she had stayed for extra help after class and heard Ritzer and Chism talking.
Ritzer mentioned Tennessee, and Chism appeared upset, but the teacher didn’t appear to notice and kept talking about it. When Ritzer noticed he was upset, she changed the topic, but the student noticed Chism talking to himself.
Surveillance video taken shortly after the alleged conversation allegedly showed Chism wearing a hood and gloves as he followed Ritzer into the female student restroom.
An unidentified student walked into the women’s bathroom while the two were still in there, and abruptly exited, the documents also stated.
Ritzer was reported missing when she never returned home from school. Her body was found in the woods, partly covered in leaves, and police said it appeared to be sexually positioned. Authorities say she had been sexually assaulted with a stick.
Investigators found blood-soaked gloves and a note near the victim’s body, which was found in the woods near the school.
The note read, “I hate you all.”
Chism, who had been spotted at a movie theater after the killing, was found walking along a highway in a neighboring town around 12:30 a.m.
A police officer looked in his backpack and found a bloodstained box cutter, according to the documents. Asked where it came from, Chism replied, “The girl.”
He also had Ritzer’s credit cards and driver’s license. He said he found them at a supermarket, then said he got them out of Ritzer’s car.
Police questioned his mother, who told them that the family had recently moved from Tennessee and that it had been a stressful divorce.
Court records indicate Chism’s parents had difficulties early in their marriage. In a parenting plan included in 2001 divorce papers, his mother, Diana, insisted on supervising any time her husband, Stacy, had with their son and a younger daughter. She cited “prior physical and emotional abuse as well as alcohol abuse” by her husband. Both adults signed the papers.
The divorce was apparently never finalized after both parents signed an order stating they wanted to attempt to reconcile.
Shortly after the killing, Diana Chism released a statement through her son’s public defender saying she was heartbroken for Ritzer’s family.
A Grand Jury has indicted Chism for murder, aggravated rape and armed robbery in the killing.
Chism had previously pleaded not guilty to a murder charge and is being held without bail. Though Chism is just 14-years-old, he is still being tried as an adult on the murder charge.
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